Image CreditVictoria Marshall

Washington, D.C. — Protecting women’s sports is a top priority for House Republicans now that they’ve secured the majority, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said at a panel held in honor of National Girls and Women in Sports Day at the U.S. Capitol.

“This is not a partisan issue, this is a fairness issue,” McCarthy said.

Included in the panel were the Speaker, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (R-FL), former NCAA champion swimmer and Stand With Women spokeswoman Riley Gains, NCAA athlete and Young Women for America Ambassador Macy Petty, and former athlete Margo Knorr. A second panel hosted by Gains included Congresswomen Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and Lisa McClain (R-MI).

In the first panel, participants talked about their experience being sidelined by men in their respective sports and how they want to bring awareness to the issue so women’s sports can be protected.

“If we, as female athletes, aren’t willing to stick up for ourselves, how can we expect someone else to stick up for us,” Gains told the panel. Gains competed on the University of Kentucky women’s swim team, and during her senior year, she tied with biological male Lia Thomas at the NCAA Championships.

“It was at this moment that I realized that not only were we being forced to compete against biological men, change in the locker room with biological men — who, keep in mind, were fully intact with male genitalia … I realized that we as female athletes were being sidelined to men and reduced to a photo op.”

Petty talked about her experience competing against biological males for scholarships in the college recruitment process.

“These sports reflect our bodies, right?” Petty asked. “Men and women’s sports are separated for a reason, and that reason has nothing to do with ideology or identity but by biology and how we were designed and how we were created.”

Despite their concerns, the NCAA has neither done anything for female athletes nor addressed their complaints about the inclusion of biological men in female spaces.

“No one has asked us how we felt,” Gains said. “We exist to validate a male’s identity.”

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx speaks to a panel moderated by Riley Gains, with Reps. Lisa McClain and Marjorie Taylor Greene.